Art Lessons Art Study - Ancient Egyptian Art

Mystery of History: Lesson 17 – The Israelites in Slavery

Israelites in Slavery

We had great fun learning about the Israelites in Slavery, and the girls experienced a little (a very little) about what it was like being a slave to the Egyptians.

Israelites in Slavery: Reading

Israelites in Slavery

Abigail read the lesson from the Mystery of History text book, and I read out everything covering the Israelites in Egypt from the Usborne family Bible.

Israelites in Slavery

Israelites in Slavery: Art Study

I discovered some Egyptian Art work (from the tomb of Rekhmire the Vizier in Thebes) which portrayed slaves building bricks. These may or may not have been the Israelites. Regardless, I thought it would make a good start to studying Egyptian art work. This was a quick reproduction, after a chat about the original art work. The girls pointed out the flatness and weird perspective of the figures. They mentioned that the higher up figures were almost like they were meant to be in the background, but as there was no decrease in size it wasn’t clear. We talked about their lack of clothes and shoes, as well as their different hair colours (a couple of blond slaves!).

Israelites in Slavery

I had some papyrus left over from the older ones’ study of Egypt. Using some tracing paper, I traced three of the figures: two gathering the material used to hold the bricks together and one who is building a wall with the bricks. I redrew over the trace and transferred it onto the papyrus:

Israelites in Slavery

This gave the girls an accurate papyrus colouring sheet to paint:

Israelites in Slavery
Israelites in Slavery

We used acrylic paints. The girls mixed the colours they needed, and began painting:

Israelites in Slavery

The end result was so much better than I had envisioned. And best of all, Becca was chuffed by her own painting which is always good news for me 🙂

Israelites in Slavery

Both girls enjoyed this art lesson, even my less-artistic one:

Israelites in Slavery

And here are the papyrus paintings, first Abs’ and then Becs’:

Israelites in Slavery
Israelites in Slavery

Israelites in Slavery: Making Mud Bricks

The second activity I had planned for this lesson was to have the girls make their own mini bricks. In my Bible reading the day before I had learnt that the Egyptians, scared that the Israelites were increasing in number and strength, made their lives even harder by forcing them not just to make the (same number of) bricks, but to also search and gather for the straw with which to make the bricks. So the girls went into the garden to search for enough dried grass and mud to make the bricks with:

Israelites in Slavery
Israelites in Slavery

Once they had enough straw and mud, and had cut the clay I had bought into pieces, they were ordered by the Pharaoh of the land (me) to make 100 bricks, 50 each. I showed them how I wanted them done, and off they went:

Israelites in Slavery

Abigail explaining what she was doing to a confused Thomas:

Israelites in Slavery

Becca finished very quickly. Unfortunately, she had not done what I had asked her to do, and just rolled pieces of clay in mud and straw. So I ordered her do them again. She was not happy!

Israelites in Slavery

Abigail was doing really well and making her bricks properly:

Israelites in Slavery

So I had her teach Becca:

Israelites in Slavery

Abigail finished her fifty and did them really well:

Israelites in Slavery

Becca made fifty more, but they still weren’t quite right. I did contemplate her making them a third time, but the look on her face was begging me not to. So I chose to be a nice Pharaoh 🙂

Here are the finished bricks, all 100 of them…currently residing on my dining room table:

Israelites in Slavery

Nice!

Further Reading

I have covered history twice, once with my older ones, and now with my younger two. You can find all my history posts from the links below:

All Mystery of History Posts

All History Posts

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